A brief history of West Marin

Point Reyes has been a significant location in the world for more than 400 years. Here is where Francis Drake claimed “New Albion” for England in 1579. It is the Gold Rush-era birthplace of the California dairy industry. Major technological advances in wireless radio took place here. And President Kennedy approved most of the area as a national treasure.

People have been attracted to the beautiful western part of Marin County forever. Coast Miwok Indians found the land to be rich in food and comfortable in climate. The early Spanish explorers noted the rich pastures and American settlers, most arriving with the Gold Rush, found a new kind of gold to reap: butter. The dairy industry at Point Reyes, considered to be among the biggest and best in America, soon became the gold standard in quality, as the lush coastal grasses and well-managed ranches produced butter that would be counterfeited by unscrupulous competitors.

The green grassy hills, thick forests, and ocean air brought visitors to Point Reyes early on, as a narrow gauge railroad transported people from San Francisco to new towns like Point Reyes Station, Olema, Inverness, and Marshall. All these tiny burgs offered hotels, camping, horse-drawn excursions, and the peace and quiet that most city dwellers sought. As stage coaches and trains gave way to automobiles, people drove out for the weekend, to eat oysters, fish in the creeks and bay, swim and sail, and hike all over the vast hills.

As early as the 1930s, the National Park Service saw Point Reyes as a treasure, but within decades it was threatened by suburban development. In the 1950s and 1960s logging trucks roared up Inverness Ridge as streets were laid out along Limantour Beach; these would be served by a network of freeways and the requisite shopping centers. The creation of Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962, and its companion Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972, saved the place for generations to come. Coupled with restrictive zoning on agricultural lands and a world-famous fresh food culture, West Marin remains a beautiful, untouched haven for people harried by a fast paced world.

Point Reyes Lodging

areal of tomales bay resort

Tomales Bay Resort

Tomales Bay Resort is located directly on the shores of Tomales Bay. Choose from rooms with fireplaces, kitchenettes, and water views. An active resort for all ages with onsite beaches, kayak rentals, boat launch, swimming pool, and restaurant. Walk, boat, or bike to explore Point Reyes National Seashore from your front door. more

pier, meadow, old boat and tomales bay

Cottages on the Bay

Two peaceful cottages located directly on the shores of Tomales Bay. Located in the historic village of Inverness, minutes from restaurants and Point Reyes National Seashore, you’ll enjoy exceptional privacy, tranquility and unmatched views of the bay. more

Point Reyes Station Inn Bed and Breakfast

Point Reyes Station Inn

Vaulted ceilings, in-room fireplaces, private balconies perched over a lush garden courtyard with views of Black Mountain — Point Reyes Station Inn bed & breakfast is a peaceful, romantic retreat just minutes from the heart of the village. Dog friendly options. more

Black Heron Inn Point Reyes

Black Heron Inn

An exceptionally peaceful Inn set atop a bluff looking out over an iconic view of rolling grasslands, Tomales Bay and Inverness Ridge — guests come here for the spectacular view, privacy and deep serenity. more

living room with couch, table, fireplace and musical instruments

Point Reyes Country Inn

A peaceful, stylish retreat set in four private acres of orchards and open space, Point Reyes Country Inn welcomes guests to spacious, beautifully furnished rooms, gourmet breakfasts and the tranquility of the West Marin countryside. On-site horse boarding. more

bed with end tables

Point Reyes Vineyard Inn

A secluded Mediterranean-style bed and breakfast in a quiet pastoral setting looking out on the Inverness Ridge and West Marin’s beautiful rolling hills — you’ll love the vineyard views, serene koi pond and wine tasting room. more

bed with slider door and wooden floors

Bear Valley Cottage

Perfect for couples or families who want privacy and the comforts of home — this lovely two bedroom cottage is walking distance to the charming historic village center of Olema and nearby trails. more

Inn at Roundstone Farm

Set on a peaceful ten acre farm in Olema, you’ll love the spacious rooms with views and fireplaces, cooked breakfasts and panoramic views of Mt. Wittenberg, Olema Valley, Inverness Ridge and Tomales Bay.  more

Groom's Quarters Point Reyes Lodging Horse Stables

Groom’s Quarters

Perched directly over the Stables, the Groom’s Quarters is a unique vacation rental that provides comfortable and spacious accommodation for friends or family visiting Point Reyes with horses. more